Riaz Tejani is an associate professor of business ethics at the University of Redlands who can comment on SCR-93, a bill introduced by State Sen. Melissa Mendez declaring the California state of emergency proclaimed by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 4, 2020, is at an end, thereby terminating the emergency powers granted to the governor as a result of that proclamation.
"State Senator Melendez’s bill to undo Governor Newsom’s protective measures is understandable but very misguided. Melendez claims it results from bipartisan calls among her constituents to reopen businesses and schools. Clearly, people need to feed themselves even during a pandemic. But the bill effectively trades definite human life for potential economic prosperity. The claim that Newsom “abused” his power is erroneous: Newsom and other governors were forced to step into a power vacuum created by a silent federal executive in order to protect public health—which is of course well within the governors' purview.
"Obviously, viruses do not respect county or state borders so generalized action was needed; state governors have merely picked up the ball dropped by Trump. The so-called pro-business priority Melendez embraces may be understandable but it is only one among others that include, foremost, the safeguarding of human life."
Riaz Tejani is an associate professor of business ethics. His research examines problems in legal and business ethics with a focus on race and class inequality, access to justice, and higher education. Riaz's first book, Law Mart: Justice, Access, and For-Profit Law Schools (2017), is an ethnographic account of for-profit legal education during and after the global financial crisis. His second book, Law and Society Today, critically surveys contemporary themes in socio-legal studies after "law and economics". Riaz serves on the National Advisory Council of the non-profit research center Law School Transparency, and his recent articles have appeared in American Ethnologist, U.C. Irvine Law Review, and Political and Legal Anthropology Review. His work has been cited or reviewed in outlets including the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal Forum, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, The Nation, Huffington Post, Salon, and NPR.